print logo

Egypt’s satellites to boost Africa’s climate change fight

Egypt’s space program on Monday took a new leap forward with the launch of another satellite, Horus-2, that will help Cairo monitor climate change.
17.03.23 | Source: Arab News

 Only 4 percent of Egypt’s land is suitable for agriculture and that figure is shrinking quickly due to a wave of urban and suburban development that is accompanying the country’s population growth, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. Nasem Badreldin, a digital agronomist at the University of Manitoba, said: “Satellite data shows that Egypt is losing about 2 percent of its arable land per decade due to urbanization, and the process is accelerating. If this continues, Egypt will face serious food security problems.” Cairo is relying more and more on using data from space to find remedies.

Egypt’s space aspirations and formal space program have been focused on climate change monitoring for several decades. Since the 1970s, it has used satellites to measure changes in land surfaces/topography. Its satellites were tied into the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, located in Aswan.

In 1998, Egypt became the first Arab country to launch a telecommunications satellite. Egypt’s second remote sensing satellite, EgyptSat 2, was launched in April 2014, but was lost in space the following year. Four years later, Egypt replaced it with EgyptSat-A, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport in Kazakhstan that is leased to Russia.

In January 2018, the Egyptian Space Agency became the formal space authority in Egypt. It now administers 11 satellites following the launch of Horus-2. Egypt has used several different countries to launch its satellites, the latest being China.

Egypt’s Horus series is important for its climate change policy. According to Dr. Sherif Sedky, CEO of the Egyptian Space Agency, the Horus-2 satellite will help meet the requirements of Egypt’s 2030 vision for sustainable development. Horus-1 was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China into a sun-synchronous low Earth orbit in late February.